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Earth System Science, Ph.D.

  • Application Deadline
  • 60 months
University rank #2 (QS) Stanford, CA, United States
The objectives of the doctoral program are to enable students to develop the skills needed to conduct original investigations in environmental and Earth system sciences, to interpret the results, and to present the data and conclusions in a publishable manner.
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  • Earth System Science is the study of the world’s air, water, land, and life as an integrated system.  As scientists, we unite basic and purpose-driven research to chronicle how the Earth functions, the many ways it is changing, and what the consequences of changes will be for people and other species.  We believe that science can improve the world by enabling us to understand, predict, and solve the pressing issues of global environmental change. These goals are why Stanford founded our department in 2007 and why our faculty now form the largest department in the School of Earth, Energy, and Environmental Sciences. 
  • People are our core - individuals who strive to be both excellent scientists and global citizens. We train new generations through our interdisciplinary graduate and undergraduate programs. We share a renowned faculty, creative staff, and talented students and postdoctoral scholars. More than anything, we look forward to working with - and learning from - you.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 60 months
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

Programme Structure

While Earth System Science's research projects cover a wide breadth of fields, a special focus on five areas unites much of the work being done today.

  • Climate System Dynamics
  • Contaminant and Nutrient Cycling
  • Geobiology
  • Human Environment Interactions
  • Land Use Change
  • Ocean and Ecosystem Response
  • Sustainable Food and Water

English Language Requirements

  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL iBT ® measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The test has four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), each with a score range of 0-30, for a total score range of 0-120.

  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL®PBT is administered in a paper format and measures your ability to use and understand English in a classroom setting at the college or university level. It accurately measures how well you can listen, read and write in English while performing academic tasks.

Academic Requirements

  • This programme accepts GRE® scores. However, it does not provide a recommended score range.

    The GRE® General Test is a widely administered admissions test that measures the skills needed in today's graduate and business school programs worldwide. The GRE® General Test contains three sections - Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. Three scores are reported: a Verbal Reasoning score on a 130 - 170 score scale in one-point increments, a Quantitative Reasoning score on a 130 - 170 score scale in one-point increments, and an Analytical Writing score on a 0 - 6 score scale in half-point increments.

General Requirements

  • For admission to graduate work in the department, the applicant must have taken the Aptitude Test (verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing assessment) of the Graduate Record Examination. 
  • In keeping with University policy, applicants whose first language is not English must submit TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) scores from a test taken within the last 18 months.
  •  Individuals who have completed a B.S. or two-year M.S. program in the U.S. or other English-speaking country are not required to submit TOEFL scores.

Tuition Fee

Living costs for Stanford

  • 1100 - 1600 USD/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.


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